Best Venue to See a Band
The Big Easy
The Big Easy is a great venue in which to see, hear and dance to a band (and we think staff are some of the nicest people we know and go a long way in making sure we have a good time every time we see a show). If staying seated during a show is your thing, that's kind of sad, but is an option with tables and chairs on both the lower and upper levels. There's even more seating in the Bourbon Street Saloon (and another full bar) and, if you're cool enough to get in, inside the VIP lounge. If dancing around and seeing your favorite rock stars up close is more your style, the floor in front of the stage has plenty of room for you, your closest friends and the couple of hundred total strangers you'll be squeezed in next to (and, by nature of their proximity, possibly your new closest friends by the end of the night). Some chart-topping, out-of-town names have played the 1,000-capacity place; but we also get to see some of our favorite local musicians, for which the Big Easy gets a big gold star.
416 S. 9th St., 208-367-1212
Second Place: Neurolux
Third Place: The Bouquet
Best Art Gallery
Boise Art Museum
Calling the Boise Art Museum a gallery is technically a misnomer, but the people have spoken, and we agree. BAM's cultural contributions to not only our community, but also to Idaho as a whole, are immeasurable.
670 Julia Davis Dr., 208-345-8330
Second Place: Visual Arts Collective
Third Place: Woman of Steel Gallery
Best Local Cultural Attraction/Museum
The history of the Basque Block extends back almost 100 years to when the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga home was a boarding house for Basque immigrants. Since then, the building (which is the oldest surviving brick structure in the city) has been a gathering point for Boiseans. From the Basque Center at one end to Gernika Basque Pub and Eatery on the other end, the entire block is a celebration of the Basque people. The Basque Museum and Cultural Center exhibits the history of Basques in and out of Idaho, the Fronton Building is home to the fronton court, where handball and pala are often played. On the other side of the street, the Basque Market sells favorites from sandwiches to take-and-bake croquetas, and Leku Ona is the place to not only get a traditional Basque meal, but brush up on your Basque language skills with Andonni.
Grove Street between Capitol Boulevard and Sixth Street.
Second Place: Boise Art Museum
Third Place: Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial
Best Local Live Theater
Idaho Shakespeare Festival
We here at BW can't help but love the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and apparently the people of Boise feel the same. The perennial favorite always tops the list of Boise's favorite theater experiences, and it's hard not to see why. From the high-quality performance, direction and design to the gorgeous amphitheater itself, a night at the Shakespeare Festival is an experience. In recent years, the festival has branched out to include the works of modern playwrights in addition to the Bard, even offering up an annual fall musical. There's an undeniable appeal to watching a raucous production of Little Shop of Horrors (complete with live orchestra) while sipping a glass of wine. Give us a giant man-eating, talking plant and a sadistic dentist with a doo-wop soundtrack any night. When you go to an ISF production, you know you're going to get a quality performance in a gorgeous setting with a relaxed atmosphere.
5657 Warm Springs Ave., 208-336-9221
Second Place: Boise Contemporary Theater
Third Place: Boise Little Theater
Best Local Band
Built to Spill
We would venture to guess that though only Boise can list BTS as best local band, other places across the country, maybe even the world, have probably put Built to Spill on some kind of "best of" list. Though we love many Idaho exports, there's none we're so proud of as them.
Second Place: Rebecca Scott Band
Third Place: Soul Purpose
Best Local Singer
Over the years, we've used just about every adjective we can think of to describe Scott's voice: dulcet, sweet, smooth, melodious. If Boise had a soundtrack, it would be the euphonious voice and mellifluous melodies of Rebecca Scott. We're going to have to find some new descriptors for next year ...
Second Place: Doug Martsch
Third Place: Kris Doty
Best Local Movie Theater
When it comes to foreign and art house film, the Flicks is the only gig in town. The Flicks is responsible for ensuring that blockbuster-wary moviegoers have quality films to watch, discuss and love. They've even got a hefty rentals section. We also love their shaded patio and their selection of gourmet eats.
646 Fulton St., 208-342-4222
Second Place: Egyptian Theatre
Third Place: Edwards 21
Best Idaho Visual Artist
He's found a way to make Boise look so classy in so many ways. Whether it's his iconic posters that you can find on walls throughout the city or, our new favorite, his entry signs for the city's thoroughfares, Ward Hooper feels very much like Boise's favorite popular artistic son. His six-to-seven-foot-tall signs, posted at entryway roads like Broadway, are a good cue to visitors that, yeah, people here care about Boise's image. And that's one of many reasons to love Hooper's work.
Second Place: Eric Payne
Third Place: Stephanie Wilde
Best Local Public Art
Anne Frank Memorial
The .81-acre educational park designed along the Boise River is a place to reflect on basic human rights and the triumph of the human spirit. People can sit on benches, listen to the constant flow of water, peruse the quote wall, or gaze at the bronze statues in the somber space. Anne Frank's message is timeless.
801 S. Capitol Blvd.
Second Place: "Grove Street Illuminated"
Third Place: "Alley History"
Best Living Idaho Writer
He tried to tell you not to pick him, sort of. But you did anyway. More than any other ingredient in BW's pages, it's ol' Cope that people ask about when editors are introduced around town. "Boy, that Bill Cope is really something," they'll inevitably say. Of course, the next part of their statement is crucial. Something ... what? Good? Bad? Irritating as hell?
This year, he achieved a new height of infamy: A column of his on primary voting is an actual exhibit in a Republican activists group's lawsuit against Idaho's primary voting laws. Top that one next year, Cope.
Whether he's eviscerating the powerful, bemoaning the loss of the beautiful, or just embarrassing the heck out of his daughter by writing about her adolescence, Cope manages to draw in readers (and those who comment online) like nobody's business. Our favorite part is when politicians try to get us to have him write about certain subjects. We might sooner direct a bull through a china shop. No thanks.
We know, Cope: you tried to get them to vote otherwise. But just like you, our readers are independent cusses sometimes.
Second Place: Tim Woodward
Third Place: Dan Popkey
Best Local Annual Event
Art in the Park
People come from all corners of the state to stroll on over to one of Boise's most beautiful green spaces for a weekend of culture. Complemented by the extensive variety of arts, crafts, food and music, the Julia Davis Park comes alive with creativity and commerce. Handmade crafts and creations nestled into row after row of booths give both the looky-loos and serious spenders an eyeful. Live music, arts, crafts and community spirit combine to keep this annual event gaining momentum as a summer standard.
Second Place: Hyde Park Street Fair
Third Place: Twilight Criterium
Best Local Musician
In the early '90s, a major record deal showed the world the kind of talent jazz-meister Curtis Stigers possesses. Over the years, he's performed with the likes of Eric Clapton, Gene Harris, Elton John and Prince to name a few; he can be heard on both feature film and television soundtracks; he's added businessman to his curriculum vitae as part-owner of well-loved pub, Pengilly's; and he was recently named Radio 2 Jazz Artist of the Year at the BBC Jazz Awards. Though some may be jealous, we're more than happy to just bask a little in his glow.
Second Place: Doug Martsch
Third Place: Rebecca Scott